Jordanians protest for democratic and economic reform, 2011


The resignation of the prime minister, and the government's curbing of rising prices, inflation, and unemployment

Wave of Campaigns

Time period

January, 2011 to April, 2011



Location City/State/Province

Jump to case narrative


The Muslim Brotherhood (MB)
Islamic Action Front (IAF)
Mohammad Sneid- trade unionist that called for a nationwide protest on 1/14


Youth of March 24
Popular Union Party (PUP)
Trade unions

External allies

Not known

Involvement of social elites

Not known


Prime Minister Samir Rifai
King Abdullah II
Supporters of King Abdullah II

Nonviolent responses of opponent

About 100 supporters of King Abdullah II organized a similar protest nearby to counter the protest camp that had been setup in Amman.

Campaigner violence

Over 100 Jordanians had been injured after loyalists fought with demonstrators.

Repressive Violence

Over 100 Jordanians had been injured after loyalists fought with demonstrators.


Economic Justice



Group characterization

trade unionists
leftist party members

Groups in 1st Segment

Trade Unions

Groups in 4th Segment

Youth of March 14

Segment Length

Approximately 20 days

Success in achieving specific demands/goals

4 out of 6 points


1 out of 1 points


3 out of 3 points

Total points

8 out of 10 points

Notes on outcomes

The successful campaign brought about multiple aid packages and reform from the Jordanian government. The first of the aid packages came on the 12th of January, before the campaign began; it was worth $169 million dollars and was meant to control prices of commodities and also to create more jobs. The second aid package came on the 21st of January and provided military personnel and public sector workers with a monthly salary raise of $28. King Abdullah also enacted several reforms during the campaign, beginning with the dismissal of his cabinet and Prime Minister Rifai on February 1. The king promised to reform election laws regarding the selection of the Prime Minister as well. The new cabinet, sworn in on February 10, removed restrictions on public gatherings. Lastly, King Abdullah set up a commission to examine the constitution and consider additional amendments.

Database Narrative

Beginning in December of 2010, massive protests against hunger and joblessness manifested all over the country of Tunisia. Similar violent protests erupted in Algeria over food costs. Consequently, on January 12, 2011, the Jordanian government made attempts to prevent similar events from happening; the government announced a plan worth $169 million dollars to control the price of essential resources and to spur job creation. That same day, trade unionist Mohammad Sneid called for a protest to happen two days later; he declared the slogan to be "a march for the downfall of Prime Minister Samir Rifai for a decent living."

On January 14, 8,000 Jordanians participated in demonstrations in Amman and other Jordanian cities. Protesters carried Jordan's national flag and chanted "Down with Rifai's government. Unify yourselves because the government wants to eat your flesh. Raise fuel prices to fill your pockets with millions." Others carried banners as they marched that read, "Jordan is not only for the rich. Bread is a red line. Beware of our starvation and fury." Two days afterward, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), its Jordanian political affiliate the Islamic Action Front (IAF), and several trade unions initiated a sit-in outside the parliamentary building.

In another effort to discourage unrest, the Jordanian government announced an additional aid package to be given out. On January 21, the government granted military and public workers a monthly salary raise of $28. King Abdullah II also made an effort to speak with Jordanians inhabiting the poorer areas of Jordan regarding their struggles. The MB responded by calling for additional protests to occur. Hamza Mansour, the leader of the IAF, called for democratic reforms that would allow the people of Jordan to elect a prime minister instead of having the king select one.

A week after the arrival of a second aid package from the government, more massive protests took place. Thousands reentered the streets chanting "We want change!" and displaying banners calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Rifai. 3,500 protesters gathered in the capital city with banners that read "Send the corrupt guys to court." All protests occurred after the noon prayers.

The campaign experienced a moment of success on the 1st of February when King Abdullah II announced that he was dismissing his cabinet, reforming the election law for the position of Prime Minister and replacing Prime Minister Rifai with another appointment. Marouf Bakhit, a former general, replaced Rifai. Bakhit, who had previously served as Prime Minister from 2005-2007, became a new source of frustration for Jordanians. The IAF said Bakhit "[was] not a man of reforms." The following day, several demonstrators from the Popular Union Party and the MB held a rally and chanted "no Bakhit, no Samir."

On February 4, the IAF held a sit-in outside the parliamentary building to protest the new Prime Minister. In Karak and Amman, hundreds of citizens marched in protest, carrying the Jordanian flag. The protests appeared to be smaller than earlier ones, as some Jordanians were willing to give Bakhit a chance to make reform. On February 10, the new cabinet was introduced and it proved to be a disappointment from the perspective of many demonstrators; the IAF refused to take part in it. The cabinet did, however, take immediate steps to enact reform; just five days after being sworn in, it removed restrictions on public protests.

Substantial protests resumed two weeks later when the IAF held a rally calling for the creation of a constitutional monarchy. Islamists also formed a 24-man commission to explore all the possibilities of a constitutional monarchy "under which the king does not rule." Prime Minister Bakhit issued a statement soon afterward rejecting such an idea. The result was a protest of 1,500 on the streets of Zarka.

Further protests calling for democratic reform occurred in late March. On the 25th, 500 Jordanians prepared a protest camp in Amman. The group appeared to be mainly college students that were a part of the Youth of March 24. As they sat-in, they chanted "Intelligence Department, we want your hands off politics!" and held banners that read "new Jordan, clean of corruption and corrupt officials." About 100 supporters of King Abdullah II organized a similar protest nearby to counter the one already in progress. A week prior, over 100 Jordanians had been injured after loyalists fought with demonstrators.

In response to the violence, King Abdullah II prohibited his own supporters from protesting in Amman. More violence occurred afterwards when alleged members of the conservative Sunni Muslim Salafist group attacked police officers with weapons, leaving more than 90 people hurt. According to reports, the attacks were unrelated to the campaign for economic and democratic reforms, but rather to demand the release of prisoners. 136 people were eventually arrested for their involvement in the violence. King Abdullah II then created a 10-person panel in late April to review the constitution and consider additional reforms. This marked the end of a highly successful campaign in which many reforms and aid packages came about as a result.


Jordanians' protests were inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. (1)


Agence France-Presse. "Jordan's Islamist opposition to join protests" Agence France-Presse 12 January 2011
----. "Jordanians protest living conditions, blame govt" Agence France-Presse 14 January2011
----. "Jordanian king 'tunes in' to popular grievances" Agence France-Presse 23 January 2011
----. ":Jordan Islamists vow more nationwide protests" Agence France-Presse 26 January 2011
----. "Jordan king urges reform as Egypt protests rage" Agence France-Presse 26 January 2011
----. "Jordan king fires govt, Islamists slam new PM" Agence France-Presse 1 February 2011
----. "Jordan new 'reform' govt may include opposition" Agence France-Presse 3 February 2011
----. "Jordan to ease restrictions on public assembly" Agence France-Presse 15 February 2011
----. "Calls mount for constitutional monarchy in Jordan" Agence France-Presse 1 March 2011
----. "Jordan Islamists rally for 'regime reforms'" Agence France-Presse 11 March 2011
----. "Jordan opposition demands PM's ouster after unrest" Agence France-Presse 26 March 2011
----. "Young Jordanians demand reform" Agence France-Presse 1 April 2011
----. "Jordan arrests Islamists after bloody clashes" Agence France-Presse 16 April 2011
----. "Jordan detains 136 on 'terror' charges" Agence France-Presse 22 April 2011
----. "Jordan king creates panel to review constitution" Agence France-Presse 26 April 2011

Aljazeera. "Rallies for reform held in Jordan" Aljazeera. 4 February 2011
----. "Protest camp set up in Jordan capital" Aljazeera 24 March 2011
----. "Jordanian police separate rival rallies" Aljazeera 1 April 2011
----. "Clashes erupt in Jordanian town" Aljazeera 15 April 2011

Al-Sharq al-Awsat. "Jordan foreign minister cites difficult economic situation as cause of protests" Al-Sharq al-Awsat (London) 13 April 2011
BBC. "Middle East unrest: Clashes erupt at Jordan protest" BBC 18 February 2011
----. "Clashes break out at Jordan anti-government protest" BBC 25 March 2011
Gaviak, Dale. "Fewer protesters hit streets in Jordan; Muslim opposition group 'optimistic'change will come" Chronicle Herald (Canada) 5 February 2011
----. "Middle East protests: Jordan sees biggest reform rally" BBC News 25 February 2011

Halaby, Jamal. "Hundreds set up protest camp in Jordan's capital" Washington Post 25 March 2011

Luck, Taylor. "In Jordan, Islamists try to spin popular protests into political uprising" Christian Science Monitor 21 january 2011

PressTV. "Jordan braces for its 'largest' rally" PressTV 25 February 2011

Reuters "Jordan's king appoints new PM after protests" Kippreport (Dubai) 1 February 2011

Seeley, Nicholas. "After Egypt's protests, Jordan's king faces more assertive public" Christian Science Monitor 2 February 2011
----. "Jordan aims to avoid unrest with dialogue on sweeping reforms" Christian Science Monitor 23 March 2011

Shadid, Anthony and Ethan Bronner. "Protests Unsettle Jordan While Most Other Neighbors Stay Calm" 29 January 2011

Tehran Times. "Thousands protest in Jordan" Tehran Times 29 January 2011

Thai Press Reports. "Tunisia/Jordan: Tunisia Unrest Inspires Jordan Protesters" Thai Press Reports 28 January 2011

TradeArabia. "Jordanians protest against soaring food prices" TradeArabia (Bahrain) 15 January 2011

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy

Julio Alicea, 05/05/2011